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Opportunity Issue 96

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Opportunity, endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) is the mouthpiece for business in Southern Africa. The aim of the publication is to inform potential investors both nationally and internationally of the most relevant business news: trade, investment, financial, market-related information for each business sector, as well as to inform of the latest developments in business legislation from both the public and private sector.

WASTE MANAGEMENT Will

WASTE MANAGEMENT Will Covid-19 CHANGE THE FATE of single-use plastics? The pandemic could be the catalyst for environmental change. Recent news articles have highlighted the staggering amount of abandoned masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as takeaway packaging being found in our rivers and oceans, on beaches, and strewn across other parts of our environment. Alarm bells are ringing as a result of this dramatic increase in single-use plastics during the pandemic, which is intensifying our plastic waste problem. However, these warnings are missing the point: Covid-19 has certainly increased the number of certain types of plastic that are being disposed of irresponsibly, ___ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ If 3-billion people use a disposable mask and replace it every day for a year, the resulting plastic waste would amount to approximately 4.2-million tons ___ __ ___ __ _ _ _ _ but the problem is not new – it has been compounded by existing deficiencies in collection, sorting and recycling logistics as well as lack of end-of-life solutions for so many materials. Nevertheless, the challenges of plastic waste pollution linked to the pandemic might create the tipping point needed to force society into tackling our waste problem once and for all. COVID-19-RELATED WASTE: THE TIP OF AN ICEBERG Although we see a variety of estimates that suggest double-digit growth rates for PPE use, reliable data on PPE use and, in particular, leakage is still scarce. If 3-billion people use a disposable mask and replace it every day for a year, the resulting plastic waste would amount to approximately 4.2-million tons. The increased demand for food delivery during the pandemic likewise increased the amount of singleuse plastics (for example, cutlery, plastic bags, and packaging). Adding one additional takeaway meal per week for 3-billion people into this equation accounts for an extra 4.4-million tons of plastic waste. Thus, Covid-19 could have increased our plastic waste amount by about 8.6-million tons just from these two suggested examples. If we then make an allowance for the need to use more packaging to avoid contamination, then our best-case scenario estimation is that the ___ __ The challenges of plastic waste pollution linked to the pandemic might create the tipping point needed to force society into tackling our waste problem once and for all. 38 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

Serving landandlife Partnershipsarecriticalwithintheindustrytodevelopinnovativesolutions forthefutureofwastemanagementinSouthAfrica. InterwasteandSéchéEnvironnement,arecognisedspecialistintherecovery andtreatmentofhazardousandcomplexwaste,havejoinedforcestobring innovativewastetreatmentsolutionstotheAfricanmarket. Withastrongfocusonthecirculareconomyandinvestmentinleading technologyandenvironmentalstandards,thisventureisdeliveringvalue toInterwaste’sbusiness,itsclientsandtheSouthernAfricanenvironment. Thereisworktodo. Aproud company

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